House Republicans press Blinken on concerns of Ukraine aid being donated to Dems through FTX
'This whole situation stinks to high heaven,' Nehls told FOX Business
FIRST ON FOX: Several House Republicans are pressing Secretary of State Antony Blinken about their concerns that Ukraine military aid may have been improperly invested in the bankrupt crypto-exchange FTX Trading Limited.
Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, led the letter with several of his GOP colleagues to Blinken, expressing their concerns about the potential investment of Ukraine military financial aid into FTX, whose founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, made significant donations to Democrats this midterm cycle.
"This whole situation stinks to high heaven," Nehls told Fox News Digital. "I voted against Ukraine spending in the House, and for good reason."
WHAT IS THE ALLEGED CONNECTION BETWEEN SAM BANKMAN-FRIED, FTX, DEMOCRATS AND UKRAINE?
"We have no idea where this money is going and how much is actually going to support Ukraine’s defense," Nehls continued. "Now that we have the majority in the House, we will get to the bottom of this."
In the letter exclusively obtained by FOX Business, the lawmakers wrote it has come to their "attention that billions of taxpayer dollars sent to Ukraine to assist with their war efforts were potentially invested in a crypto exchange that then made massive donations to Democrats" during the midterm elections.
Nehls and the Republicans wrote the Ukrainian government officially partnered with FTX in March to "launch a crypto donations website, ‘Aid for Ukraine,’ within days of President Joe Biden pledging billions of American taxpayer dollars to assist the country with war efforts against the Russian invasion."
"While this partnership was touted as a way to assist Ukraine in cashing out crypto donations for ammunition and humanitarian aid, we have serious concerns that the Ukrainian government may have invested portions of the nearly $66 billion of U.S. economic assistance into FTX to keep Democrats in power – and keep the money coming in," the lawmakers wrote.
The Republicans wrote that Bankman-Fried "was the second-largest contributor to Democrat-affiliated political action committees (PACS) and organizations, only behind liberal billionaire, George Soros."
"The Federal Election Commission (FEC) data found Bankman-Fried funneled nearly $40 million during the midterm election cycle, with most of his contributions to Protect our Future PAC and House Majority PAC, both of which exclusively supported Democratic candidates," they continued.
"Additionally, Gabe Bankman Fried, brother of FTX’s founder, worked until last year for Democrat Congressman Sean Casten of Illinois, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee that oversees cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) markets," the lawmakers added.
The Republicans wrote that what is "even more concerning is that on November 11th, three days after the 2022 midterms, FTX filed for bankruptcy" and that it has been "reported that up to $2 billion of customer funds have disappeared through a backdoor housed in the finance software."
"We sincerely hope the primary driver behind the billions in Congressional assistance to Ukraine was not Democrats attempting to keep themselves in power, and that none of the missing funds were used as a passthrough to avoid campaign finance laws or end up in Democrat pockets," the lawmakers wrote.
Nehls and his colleagues asked Blinken if the State Department has "any knowledge that anyone in the Biden Administration, Congress, or Democrat-affiliated PACs intended for the money the U.S. sent to Ukraine to assist with the war efforts to be invested in a crypto exchange, including FTX, or be funneled back to the United States to influence the 2022 midterm elections" and, if so, who those actors are.
The lawmakers also asked if the Biden administration will audit the Ukrainian aid that has been sent so far.
A State Department spokesperson told FOX Business that the department does not comment on congressional correspondence as a standard practice.
The spokesperson also said the State Department has "no reason to believe that these reports are anything but pure falsehoods and misinformation."
"U.S. direct budget assistance to the Government of Ukraine cannot be used for a scheme such as the one being alleged, and the monitoring mechanisms we have in place have not detected a deviation from the funds’ expected use," the spokesperson said.
"The direct budget support that the United States is providing to the Government of Ukraine is transmitted via a World Bank mechanism to Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance," they continued. "There are agreements and monitoring mechanisms in place to ensure that US funds are used for verified GOU expenses; the types of expenses for which U.S. funds can be used are specifically enumerated in those agreements."
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The GOP letter comes in the fallout of FTX’s bankruptcy that has set the crypto market on fire as billions of dollars have been lost.
Joining Nehls on the letter are three of his fellow GOP lawmakers: Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Mary Miller of Illinois, and Byron Donalds of Florida.